Simon Taufel is one of the very few names that come to our minds when we talk about the best umpires to have been associated with the game of cricket. He has been one of the most consistent umpires in the history of cricket and has even won the ICC Umpire of the Year award for five consecutive years from 2004 to 2008.
However, even the best also get it wrong sometimes and so was with the case of Simon Taufel. Not once but there were a few times when he went wrong with Sachin Tendulkar.
It was in 2007 during the Trent Bridge Test between India and England when Sachin was batting on 91 when after a Paul Collingwood’s delivery Taufel raised his finger. Clearly Sachin Tendulkar was unhappy with the decision. Later hawkeye showed that the delivery was missing off-stump by a margin. Recalling the incident, Taufel said:
“Well, I’m thinking, shouldered arms, so benefit of the doubt probably to the bowler, and I’ve given Sachin out after a bit of thought,” He recalled: “Now, of course, Sachin’s not happy with the decision. It’s unusual for him to stand around, and he did stand there for a little bit of time, and then he went. I could see that he wasn’t happy. “
The fact that was Sachin was on the 90s, added more fuel to the fire. Taufel revealed how a morning conversation later on with Sachin Tendulkar helped them maintain mutual respect. He revealed:
“Later on Hawkeye showed that the ball was predicted to miss the off stump by maybe an inch. And I just knew what the response was going to be like from world cricket; so I didn’t open Cricinfo, I didn’t read any newspapers, I knew that I was going to be… not the flavour of the month in the media.”
“The following morning I happened to pass by Sachin on my normal morning walk out to the middle and I come across Sachin and I said, ‘look, yesterday I got it wrong, you know? I’ve looked at it, I got it wrong.’ He said, ‘look, Simon, I know.’ He said, ‘you’re a good umpire, you don’t often get many wrongs, it’s okay, don’t worry about it’.”